I’ve been in a really weird place lately. Every few weeks I think I’ve had my “aha” moment where I’ve made some breakthrough and reached a new understanding that will lead me to the next chapter in my life. But nothing really changes. No matter how articulate or unique I try to make my applications and cover letters, I never hear back. And I try my hardest to stay positive and take it on the chin but I’d be a bold faced liar if I pretended it didn’t affect me. I’d be a liar if I told you that these past four months have felt like anything but my own personal hell.
It’s a statistical fact that the more you put yourself out there, the more likely you are to get what you want. The more resumes you send out, the more networking events you attend, the more messages you send to LinkedIn recruiters, the more likely it is that you land whatever it is that you’re after. But when all you’ve heard is “no” for four months it doesn’t seem that way.
I dread waking up every morning because I’m anticipating another day of putting time, thought and energy into efforts I know I won’t likely see a return on. Again, I know that statistically, something’s got to give. But I also know that I spent hours yesterday and the day before trying to make myself stand out as a candidate. I found jobs that actually excited me, and seemed like I’d be perfect fits for. And I already know that on the off chance I hear from any of them it will be a month from now to tell me that they’ve “moved forward with other candidates but encourage me to apply to positions in the future, and wish me luck.” And I hate that I’m thinking so negatively. I hate that I’m expecting the worst. But at this point, it doesn’t even feel voluntary. It feels like a necessary defense mechanism.
Lately, I’ve felt trapped. I feel trapped in my parents’ house. Trapped in this small, boring city. Trapped by my student loans, and in a way, trapped by my own beliefs. I think about some of the abject morons I graduated with that couldn’t put together a presentation to save their lives at the end of senior year. I honestly don’t know how any of them are doing because I don’t care, but I assume they’re doing well. And to put things bluntly, I can’t help but wonder what on earth I’m doing wrong. Then I remember that one of our resumes isn’t covered in conservative organizations and causes in one of America’s farthest left enclaves.
Then I saw two tweets that I really needed to see, and gave me the gut check I needed.
Someone with nothing to lose has an extraordinary amount of power.
— Ed Latimore (@EdLatimore) July 30, 2017
I’m not trapped.
There has been more opportunity in unemployment than any of the jobs that rejected me combined.
I don’t have an office to be at Monday-Friday. I don’t have anyone to answer to, and I really don’t have anything to lose. When our lowest points are examined through the right lens, they become points of endless possibility.
I have responsibilities, anxieties and I have obstacles to overcome. But so does everyone- especially the entrepreneurs and business owners trying to sell us web classes every 3 posts on Facebook. Everyone has a reason NOT to try but what sets the people that we admire on Instagram apart is that they were willing to make a way when they couldn’t find one.
I would get annoyed with certain friends because I felt like they were constantly badgering me about what they thought I should be doing with no real perspective on my situation. They’re like “start a business right now” and I’m like “bitch….with what?” I don’t have a steady source of income and I have loans to pay off every month. Even in the age of the internet it takes money to make money. The specific organization I’m looking to start and the vision that I have for it will probably cost tens of thousands within the first year that I just don’t have. But that doesn’t mean that I should waste time waiting for a perfect moment that’s never going to come. The stars will never align and every last one of my ducks will never be in a row. That doesn’t mean I should keep putting off what I want to do. It means I need to start thinking more creatively about doing what I can with what I have.
As far as my views go, every public figure I admire has lost opportunities, been fired or been “disinvited” over something they said. And they’ve always ended up not only back on their feet but better off than they started out. I will never let the fear of backlash come between me and the truth.
Though it will undoubtedly be a more difficult path to take, in the long run I know I’ll find more success diving head first into my passions. There really is no better time than now, and no better place than rock bottom to propel yourself forward. Rock bottom is a lonely, terrifying place. But in the pursuit of great things fear is inevitable. Whether or not you let it paralyze you, however, is entirely up to you.